He was born, raised and once again lives in Ohio. But when Thom Brennaman arrives in Columbus this weekend to call the Akron-Ohio State game, he isn’t expecting a rousing welcome from Buckeyes fans.
If you root for a storied team in college football, Brennaman is Kryptonite right now.
“I don’t think (Buckeyes coach) Jim Tressel will be happy to see me Saturday,” Brennaman said. “Just call me Mr. Upset.”
The former voice of the Diamondbacks, who left Arizona to share the Reds’ booth with his Hall of Fame father, Marty, in Cincinnati, is also calling college football — and his last three games have all left footprints in history:
• The 2007 Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Boise State’s 43-42 overtime shocker over Oklahoma — a game that included a hook-and-lateral touchdown, a Statue of Liberty touchdown and a marriage proposal touchdown (she said yes) by Broncos running back Ian Johnson.
• A week later in Glendale, Brennaman called No. 2 Florida’s unexpected blowout of the Buckeyes in the new BCS title game — hence the likely cool reception by Tressel.
• But last week in Ann Arbor was the topper, when I-AA Appalachian State stunned fifth-ranked Michigan 34-32, blocking a field goal on the final play to preserve the biggest upset in college football history.
“We knew Appalachian State was a championship-caliber team, and they have a quarterback (Armanti Edwards) who can create problems for any team,” Brennaman said. “But are they going to beat Michigan? I mean, come on. How can that happen?”
But as the game unfolded, the Mountaineers kept scoring and the Wolverines kept imploding. “There were 109,000 people in that stadium, and I could have whispered to my partner (Charles Davis) — it was that quiet. You can’t keep 109 people that quiet.
“The incredible thing is, after all the things that went wrong for Michigan, all the mistakes and poor play, they can still win the game if they can get 11 players blocked on a field-goal try. The last play summed up the whole day — Appalachian State wanted it more.”
You know ’em, you love ’em
With all three local teams in action for the first time this season, let’s fire up the football picks for 2007. As always, Brownie Points indulges for entertainment purposes only (so readers can point and laugh on Monday):
• Arizona State 35, Colorado 17: Memo to Colorado coach Dan Hawkins: This ain’t intramurals, and it ain’t Colorado State either. Word is the CU defense prepared for ASU’s Ryan Torain this week by trying to tackle Ralphie IV in practice. Kinda the same deal.
• Arizona 42, Northern Arizona 10: After watching the Wildcats wilt against Brigham Young last week, the Lumberjacks have visions of being the next Appalachian State. But Arizona is angry, and Mike Stoops will run up the score in the home opener in an attempt to soothe an already angry fan base.
• Forty-Niners 24, Cardinals 20: As if opening the season on the road and on Monday night isn’t enough, now the Cardinals will deal with all the emotions of Bill Walsh night at Monster Park. The official Big Red season prediction doesn’t come out until Sunday — but can you see where I’m going?
• When Alex Rodriguez goes through his annual October struggles this year — before jumping for the next pile of money as a free agent — New York Yankees fans must remember that they never would have made the playoffs without his MVP effort this season.
• In other A-Rod news, Andy Roddick took all of Jimmy Connors’ sage advice and played his best match against Roger Federer in years at the U.S. Open — and still lost in straight sets. What now, kiddo?
• The two best stories in baseball are in town today. One is the local D-Backs and the other is Rick Ankiel of the Cardinals, who has nine home runs in his first 23 games as a position player.
He hit two more bombs and drove in seven runs Thursday alone.
• For faithful and confused Brownie readers (and if you’re one, you’re likely the other), a programming note. We’ve switched days on you again.
The normal midweek columns will appear on Tuesdays and Fridays — as soon as I get all this pesky vacation time off the books — with the special “week in review” edition now taking up way too much space on Sundays.